Title: DP Drabbles 1-5
Pairings: David/Drew; Andy/Kyle; Kyle/Drew; Archie/?; Andy/Neal
Summary: 5 pairings and 5 happy endings. David sings for Drew. Andy takes care of Kyle. Drew is a teacher. Archie screws up and has to fix his relationship. Andy and Neal always find each other.
Word Count: 4663
Warnings: David Cook/Andrew Cook is the first pairing. I have used two cuts so you can skip over that drabble if you wish.
Author's Note: If you really want to know the Archie pairing read the tags. The story is deliberately written so the pairing is a surprise at the end.David/Drew
David grabbed for the phone, thankful to be in a hotel room. If this was the call he was hoping for it wasn’t one he wanted to have on the bus.
“Hey” David spoke softly.
“That’s the song you picked?!” Drew’s voice loud on the line. “Really?” David laughed. It had hit the internet then.
“No one will guess and I can sing it anytime I want...” David started.
“I know. Can’t have you crying over the wrong song.” Drew cut in with a laugh. He was pretty sure making fun of David for crying was in the younger brother handbook. “It’s not true yet though.”
“Remember the day your car was at the mechanics and I picked you up from the school?” David’s voice had gone a little serious.
“Yes.” Drew said softy.
“I got there early so the kids hadn’t left and you were so good with them. Making sure they had their backpacks and jackets, both gloves. The teacher wasn’t half as good. I could just see how good you were going to be, how good you were.” David recalled the moment. “Besides you remember when we got home?” He asked.
The memories came and Drew’s in breath was loud and clear on the line, answer enough for David. David laughed softly and slid into the chorus, a softer version nothing like his performance earlier.
“Whoa! Got it bad,
Got it bad,
Got it bad,
I'm hot for teacher!
I've got it bad, so bad
I'm hot for teacher!”
Drew just gripped his phone a little tighter.Andy/Kyle
Andy shifts and wakes in the night, surprised to see the bed half empty. The fog of sleep lifts a little and he can hear soft singing from down the hall. Hayden’s room then, he’s been having nightmares lately. Andy would happily get up but Hayden is quiet enough that Andy just sleeps through it. Years of living with other people and now touring have made it easy to sleep through most things.
He’s told Kyle to wake him, but the younger man never does. Andy hasn’t ever handled a child’s nightmare but he can do this. He’s handled falls and school yard issues and more than one ‘I miss mommy’ moment- he signed up for this. It just makes his heart ache that Kyle can’t completely trust anyone else with Hayden. He’s never blamed Kyle one moment for being over protective, he’s had to be with the way Nicole has drifted in and out of Hayden’s life.
Andy stumbles down the hall to chase Kyle back to bed. Kyle can’t keep getting up like this and loosing sleep- they have to take turns.
“Go sleep. I can do this.” Andy whispers mindful that Hayden is trying to settle and Kyle is half asleep. Kyle looks up at Andy’s voice and doesn’t shake his head though he doesn’t get up either. Andy crosses the room to give him a hand and shoos him out the door.
He sits beside Hayden, only half a sleep, and runs a soothing hand along Hayden’s back. He can’t think of a lullaby so he makes up a song about stars and wishes and faeries and moonlight until Hayden falls asleep. Andy sits for a few minutes enjoying the quiet and feeling blessed. A few years ago he could never have imagined this and now he can’t think of anything he’d rather be doing than making up nonsense songs in the middle of the night- because it’s needed, for Hayden and for Kyle.
When he makes his way back to the bedroom the house is quiet. He finds Kyle asleep and just slides in behind him, pulling the covers back up over both of them. This is where he belongs. This is home.Kyle/Drew
He needs a job, a real job. Drew knows it but it’s so hard to give up on these Hollywood dreams even just for now. The silence drags and he knows he has to say something, yes/no/I’ll think about it- Kyle is waiting for an answer. David is not here (that would have been loaded) but Drew knows this has to be his idea.
“I’ll think about it.” Drew can say yes later and he knows he will- he just needs to let go of the dreams he’s been holding onto. He needs a real job and he’s not going to find something better than home schooling Hayden on tour.
When they hammer out the details he ends up 2 parts teacher and one part nanny. It’s a band decision, given that he knows them all so he won’t just be teaching and hiding out in his bunk. He’s sharing a bus with Hayden and Kyle and taking care of Hayden for most shows.
They all settle in by the end of the first month of tour. Drew finds having just one student is completely freeing. He can change the lesson plan on a whim and tailor it as he learns more about what Hayden’s interested in. It’s also different because he’s never done bedtime for a student either. It changes the connection, he’s never been this attached to a student.
By the end of the second month Drew knows he’s in trouble. It’s been awesome getting to know Andy and Neal better. Monty is interesting. Kyle, Kyle is fascinating and fun to hang out with. Drew is teaching and taking care of Kyle’s child and he hasn’t been this interested in anyone in a while.
He finally goes to talk to David because he loves his job and doesn’t want to quit. He couldn’t quit without a whole bunch of questions anyway and he doesn’t want to make a mess of things for the band. For all the things he and David talk about this hasn’t been one of them. Drew always figured he’d come out when he had a relationship worth mentioning. He dated this guy Mark one semester but Mark was graduating and it was never serious. There’s never been more than that.
David arranges an afternoon for both them to ride on Drew and Kyle’s bus alone. It turns out Drew isn’t the only Cook brother with secrets. They laugh about that and the afternoon is really good for both of them. Of course the only advice David has is pretty much what Drew figured he’d have to do. Talk to Kyle. Anything else could get messy.
Drew keeps putting the conversation off and eventually, after a week has gone by, it occurs to him to write a letter. He spends two days trying to get the letter right. Whatever Kyle says, he wants to be clear that he really does love his job. Hayden is a great kid.
He makes David deliver the letter. He knows it’s like middle school but Kyle would ask questions and Drew is just to nervous. He can’t screw this up, for himself, for Hayden and Kyle, for David and the guys. He’s on his own bus with Hayden and it’s supposed to be school time but Drew can’t focus at all so he’s given Hayden the afternoon off.
The buses run into heavy, slow traffic, there’s been a bad accident on the highway, and Drew gets a call from the tour manager asking him to just take care of Hayden until they get to the venue, Kyle will stop in then- if he can.
By the time they make the venue it’s a lot later than anyone wants. Drew cooks dinner for himself and Hayden hoping that Kyle will poke his head in, if only for a moment, but he doesn’t. Drew knows that there may just not have seemed enough time, but he wonders if maybe Kyle didn’t want to peek in- “didn’t want to see you” his brain supplies unhelpfully.
He finally sees Kyle after the show. Drew is on the couch with the tv on softly but he hasn’t been following what ever the show is, to nervous to focus. Kyle sits down besides him and he turns to offer a soft “hello”, hates that his uncertainty comes across loud and clear. It’s not the impression Drew wants to make.
Kyle leans in slowly. Their lips barely brush and only for moment. Drew knew how much he liked Kyle but this, this spark is something else and he feels like he can’t breath for a moment after. When he finds his voice it’s full of hope. “We should talk.”
6 Years Later
Drew is doing what he loves and he hardly ever misses those Hollywood dreams he’s never fulfilled. He’s not exactly a stay at home Dad, but homeshooling his kids on the road is close enough, and he loves it more than he ever could have imagined. He may only be planning lessons for Hayden but helping Marisa work on learning her animal sounds totally counts as teaching.Archie/?
“I can’t do this anymore.” He keeeps it together until he closes the door behind himself.
Archie knew it was coming, but he’d hoped for more time. Just a little more time. It’s not like nobody knows, I mean he can’t even count everybody. He’s actually pretty sure even Simon Cowell knows! So it’s not like it’s some big secret, except for the part where his family and most of country don’t know.
They’ve been fighting over this a long time, well not fighting, not before the last couple months. (Can it have been almost a year?) It’s just been an issue for a long time. He doesn’t even know who to call. He probably doesn’t have a lot of friends in the David Cook circle right now. Things have been weird for the last two months with all of them.
He finally ends up calling Brooke because she gets where he’s coming from more than anyone. It doesn’t help. She agrees that Archie is wrong on this one. Or maybe not wrong but his boyfriend wasn’t wrong to leave him over this after how long they’ve been together.
He picks up the phone three days later but he can’t call his family. It becomes a pattern, picking up the phone and not dialing. Eventually he punches in the first few numbers but he still can’t do it. He calls his boyfriend even though he never answers, tells him that he’s trying. By the third week Archie feels all hollow inside. He manages to actually call but he just says ‘I love you’ and then ‘it’s my manger on the other line’ and hangs up before he can cry.
He misses the special Anthemic concert because he knows he wouldn’t be welcome but he looks at all the pictures that show up on-line. Everyone is there- the band, Drew, Michael, Jason, Carly, and even Chikezie. The pictures are like a punch in the gut. He looks worse than Archie feels, and Archie knows it’s all his fault. He spend several long moments hanging over the toilet losing everything in his stomach and he knows he can’t go on like this.
He marches right over to the phone but he still can’t call, can’t tell them. He almost throws the phone but he doesn’t. If he can’t call them he has to come up with something he can do. He doesn’t know what yet but he knows what he wants so he goes shopping.
Archie doesn’t know how he got so lucky, before everything fell apart. Just making it on to Idol would have been enough but it snowballed from there. He made top 10 and then top two and met one of his best friends. David has been there for him since then (well not now but Archie gets that) and helped him accept being gay. Without Idol, without David, Archie never would have met the love of his life and sometimes he’s still amazed that they happened at all.
They started out talking music and then discovered they had so much else in common and enough that was different to share. It wasn’t an instant thing, no love at first sight. It took a couple years and Archie did a lot of growing up but when it happened... He still remembers that kiss, he hadn’t planned on it but he leaned in before he could stop himself. There was this silence when he pulled away, it felt like forever, and he was sure he’d ruined a good friendship. Then, “I wasn’t looking.” He sounded surprised but he still leaned back in and kissed Archie.
There’s an awards show at the end of next week and Archie doesn’t know whether he can’t wait or dreads it more. He wants to see him even from a distance but he knows his boyfriend doesn’t want to see him, knows he’ll be a wreck- look like a wreck even if no one else can tell. After four years together Archie should be good at reading him. His purchase feels heavy in his pocket but he doesn’t have a plan yet.
The awards show arrives and Archie can’t eat a thing all day. He puts his purchase in the pocket of his suit pants. After carrying it around for a week he feels weird leaving it at home.
Archie’s halfway down the red carpet when the Anthemic and crew arrive. His head whips around and his boyfriend is there, in front of him, for the first time in five weeks. He’s moving before he stops to think about it. It takes a moment but several cameras turn to Archie hoping to catch the David and David reunion. He walks right past David and the news casters paying attention know something is up.
Archie doesn’t notice the cameras, all he can see is his boyfriend. Then Archie is standing right in front of him and he doesn’t have a plan but he can’t do this being a part, he just can’t. He reaches into his pocket because he knows this is the most important thing in his life.
“Andy” He pulls his hand out of his pocket and holds it out. “Andrew P. Skib will you marry me?”
Every single camera is trained on them but Archie isn’t paying attention, he’s to busy kissing his fiance.Andy/Neal
Now, Then, and Again
(The meaning of the name Neal is Champion Or Passionate.
The meaning of the name Andrew is Manly.)
Andy tries so hard to never take Neal for granted, he has since the beginning. Neal didn’t have to pick him, to pull him from the crowd, to put him up front. In the beginning Neal didn’t need him and Andy is so grateful to have been chosen anyway. Many people, maybe most people, just see the guitar and the way those talented hands move, but if they listened closely they’d hear the voice. No, Neal didn’t need Andy, he could have been the voice but he just wanted to play.
Andy knows how talented those fingers are better than anyone and he doesn’t take that for granted either. Neal never would have looked at him twice back then if it hadn’t been for his voice. Even if there had been whispers Andy knows he had a lot of growing up to do and they wouldn’t be where they are now if they had started then.
Andy is spreading his wings and finding out who he is as an artist. He is working on finding his own words and it is amazing. Still, he will always come back to Neal to be his voice for as long as Neal wants him.
Neal doesn’t know how he would have made it this far without out Andy. He’s come a long way from just some desperate kid with a guitar. Back then he felt bad some times for shoving this kid up front to carry the audience interaction. Four years older and he wasn’t half the people person Andy was. He’s learned, and you probably wouldn’t know it now, but he wasn’t born with the confidence people are used to seeing these days. Wasn’t even quite there when he started playing for Dave.
He knows he could front a band now if he wanted to, could carry the audience, but he’s happy watching Andy shine. Besides he likes having something that he doesn’t share with everyone, something just for Andy. He’ll sing anytime they’re alone, anytime Andy time asks. He’ll play for as long as Andy wants him.
(The meaning of the name Murphy is Descendant Of Sea Warrior.
The meaning of the name Ethan is Firm, Strong.)
Ethan is grateful for the company of the Irishman, Murphy, though he does not know him well. It had been concerning to hook up with two complete strangers for this journey but it made it ever so much more affordable. They lost Elias Willingham early on, but he does not like to dwell on that as it only serves to remind him that he may not make California. He has no great desire to die but neither does he have one to live, it is his wife and children he worries about. Oh, he does not lover her- he is different from other men- but she is his responsibility and one he took on willingly.
She did not have much to bring to the marriage, but then he knew he was no catch either. Besides, if he had not married her John Gosling would have and his wives did not last long- he already had three in the ground when Ethan married Susan. Despite his difference they managed two children between them, both girls, for he would not ask his wife to bear the burden of being thought barren.
Ethan finds as the weeks pass that, more than grateful for Murphy’s company, he likes the Irishman and they get on well. For a while things are good. He does not have to worry about his wife, though he misses his girls, and without the constant reminder of his failing he is able to stuff those unwelcome feelings down.
When he realizes that things are changing Ethan tries to pretend they aren’t. Murphy has made this journey bearable and he does not want to lose that. He does not need to be thinking about the Irishman’s smile and other things. He carries the fear that he will be found out and tries not to think about what happens to men like him.
He thinks he manages to hide it well, but sometimes he’s not so sure. Sometimes he thinks Murphy might be like him, might be different. He knows he will never speak up though, the risk is to great. California, this journey, frees him from relations with his wife but not from the responsibility to take care of her and of his girls. He tries to keep those unwelcome feelings in the back of his mind and does not try to find alone time. With years of practice he knows he can be silent but he does not wish to run the risk of indulging these thoughts of the Irishman that he cannot afford.
Murphy has settled in comfortably with Ethan as a traveling companion and things are going so well the first time he does it. He doesn’t even know why he does it. He knows why he wants too, but actually doing it is something else. He’s taken a lot of risks in his life, leaving Kilkenny for America, joining up with strangers to head for California, the journey it’s self. After, he can’t help but think it’s the stupidest thing he’s ever done, but also the most liberating.
Murphy is pretty sure Ethan is a sleep, though he cannot be certain, when he reaches for himself. He tries to be quiet but is not silent. Should he let the wrong thing slip Ethan would have every right to ask the wagon master leave him behind if they did not kill him immediately. He sometimes gets the feeling that Ethan might be different despite his wife but the consequences of being wrong... He does not dare go there.
After there is silence for several moments and the sounds of Ethan shifting, possibly in his sleep but Murphy suspects he is awake. The next three days are full of awkward silences as he waits for the wagon master to tell him this is it. When nothing happens he slowly slips back into the easy banter of before.
When the third time comes Murphy knows for certain that Ethan is still awake. The journey is almost over and then they will part ways. He knows this is all he can ever have, that even this could cost him his life but he thinks of all the things he’s always wanted, things he wants more than ever now, and he cannot stop himself. After it is a little less awkward then last but he still isn’t sure at first that Ethan or the wagon master won’t confront him.
Murphy does it one more time, the day they arrive at their destination. They spend one last night in the wagon before waking in the morning to divide up their things and part ways. He tries not think about the fact he will never see Ethan again.
Ethan has heard Murphy three times before in the night but this time it is all he can do to not reach for himself. After he lies in silence for what feels like two hours or so. When he reaches for himself he has no idea if Murphy is asleep, no idea if Murphy though he was asleep all these times. It is the riskiest thing Ethan has ever done, but they part ways in the morning and if this is the one thing he can have for himself then he is going to take it.
Their things and equipment have been divide between them or sold and the cash split. They’ve said goodbye but neither man has moved. Ethan has no idea where Murphy is headed but the words fall from his lips. “I’m headed north.”
There’s a moment of silence before Murphy answers. “Seems we’re going the same way. Safer not to travel alone.” Murphy hadn’t planned to go north but north is as good as anything he supposes.
They discover gold is a game of lucky. Although some part of both men knew that, it’s still a hard truth to bear. They manage to keep going though Ethan can’t help but feel there is never enough to send to his family. They take work when they have to and search for gold when they can. They don’t talk about the social boundaries they cross in the night, not even when the time comes that Ethan is the first to reach beneath the sheets.
They are two years in California when they find more than just flakes enough to keep them going. It’s not enough to live on but it’s enough and men have been killed for less. A silence hangs over them, this is the moment of truth. Finally Ethan speaks, “It’s not enough to last but it could float a business. Know anything about dry goods?”
Murphy’s laugh sounds sweet and it is a moment before he can answer. “Never thought I’d settle but I always figured I was more of a saloon man myself.”
The saloon turns a profit and Ethan and Murphy take to running a saloon just fine. There’s money enough to send back home, Ethan to his wife and girls and Murphy to his parents and later his siblings. When they wake in the mornings they do not talk about the night before.
The first time Murphy visits the brothel he has no desire to do so, but knows that it is expected. What is unexpected is that he feels the need to mention it to Ethan. He tries to ignore that feeling but when he is actually heading out he finds himself muttering to Ethan on his way by. Afterwards he feels weird about it for days, and maybe that’s why he does it. Ethan is the first to reach in the night but for the first time Murphy does not lie in silence. He does not wait until after.
They pass the years this way, this unspoken bond between them. When they divide the profits and Ethan begins to leave Murphy’s share higher by the cost of a brothel visit each month, Murphy just accepts it. It is not the life they might dream of but it is more than they ever expected.
When the end comes it is sudden and unexpected, but a hazard of their trade. It is not the first fight the saloon has seen and it won’t be the last, just Murphy’s last. Bleeding out on the wood floor he finds all he wants is the chance to say ‘I love you’ but there is an audience and he dare not speak.
Ethan holds his hands over the wound waiting for the Doc to come though he does not see how Murphy can make it. He bites his tongue and does not cry, as the Irishman dies under his hands. Later, when he is alone, the tears fall and he cannot help but hear Murphy’s last shuddering breath again and again in his mind.
Ethan stays because he has no where else to go. Because his happiest years have been here. Mostly he stays because he is so certain that Murphy’s happiest years were here. For a man who’d never expected to settle anywhere Murphy had loved the saloon. The saloon is all they ever had together and Ethan stays.
When Ethan’s heart gives out he is behind the bar still serving drinks. He does not have time to realize that he is dying right where Murphy fell, does not have time to think anything at all. He leaves the saloon that he and Murphy built with more love than they ever knew, and he is no longer alone.
(The meaning of the name Liam is Strong-willed Warrior.
The meaning of the name Jedrek is Manly, Strong)
The alien instrument is different but it has strings and strings Liam knows. It’s meant for four hands not two and that is why he and Jedrek are here. The government wanted the best and they got it. They’re supposed to learn to play this instrument together as part of this culture sharing with the Thorlins.
Of course, when the government first told him he was doing this, he was supposed to play with Jenny L.. You can’t get as up close an personal as the instrument requires with a stranger and pull of any kind of chemistry, chemistry you need to play. It had taken far to long to get the government to understand that this wasn’t going to work, taken up precious practice time.
Liam’s learned this instrument though, working with Jenny L.. He knows with Jedrek he can get him up to speed, they can be ready for this culture exchange. It’s not just that he knows the way Jedrek plays, he knows how he thinks and feels. He knows Jedrek the way he knows no one else on the planet and Jedrek knows him the same.
When they step on stage the instrument feels as solid in their hands as any they’ve held. When they play it’s like nothing the Thorlins have ever heard. Two minds, two sets of hands bring to the music something the four armed Thorlins have never imagined.
It’s an amazing experience but when it’s over, Liam is just as happy to be home with Jedrek and their own instruments. He’ll play with Jedrek any where but most of all he want to play right where they’ve always been.